Reputations either open doors or slam them shut, and if it’s the latter, there’s no better time than now to resolve to do things differently in future.

People make judgments about business and individuals in an instant. So it pays to have as positive a reputation to keep as many doors open as possible for as long as possible.

However, there’s a catch — even though we’ve been brought up to believe we can control our reputation, the reality is we can’t.

But we can, and should, influence our reputation to stack the odds in our favour and help people think well of us as much as possible.

No doubt there may have been times in the past when you’ve said or done something you know probably won’t make you or your business look as good as it could.

But don’t worry, make the following 10 reputation resolutions and they will help you to create a new and reputation-enhancing future:

1. I resolve to think before I speak. I have two ears and one mouth and I aim to use them in that proportion.

2. I resolve to hold my tongue and count to three before responding to comments and situations that make me angry or defensive, online or off.

3. I resolve to never bad-mouth anyone, in person or on the Internet – ever.

4. I resolve to treat my staff, clients and customers fairly and graciously and value their contributions to our business successes.

5. I resolve to support the people, processes and partnerships operating within my business and ensure they are enhancing, rather than damaging, the reputation of the business.

6. I resolve to be truthful and transparent in my dealings with people and create a climate of mutual trust and respect.

7. I resolve to keep promises I make, both to myself and others, and to avoid over-promising and under-delivering.

8. I resolve to “pay-it-forward” when I can, with no thought of return, and enjoy the pleasure of giving without strings.

9. I resolve to accept responsibility for my actions and behaviours and avoid blaming others.

10. I resolve to avoid jumping to conclusions and labelling people. Rather, I resolve to accept people as they are and welcoming the diversity life brings.

If you focus on one or more that resonates with you, put them into practice, you’ll find yourself attracting clients, customers and opportunities and be perceived as someone people are happy to be associated with and recommend.

Even if you haven’t had much success making and keeping resolutions in the past, these reputation resolutions really could mean the difference between having a reputation you’re proud of, and that opens doors wide, and one that makes it harder for you to achieve what you want to because clients, customers and people around you have doubts about your integrity and ability to deliver.

No matter what has occurred in the past, it’s easy enough to create a new, reputation-enhancing future.

Sometimes, actively “patching things up” with people around you may be required, and sometimes it’s more appropriate simply to “move on” to a more positive future without going over old ground.

Whatever choices you make, if you act with integrity, build trust and accept responsibility for your actions, the chances are you’ll move through 2012 and beyond with a reputation that opens doors and creates huge opportunities.

Certainly, stacking the odds in your favour can help you increase your perceived value and worth, stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons and help create a winning reputation.